By Todd Barron @ FoodieCuisine.com
There are only a handful of restaurants that I can go to over and over again and never tire. Jiko in the Animal Kingdom Lodge in Disney World is one such place. Jiko is one of a few African restaurants I have been to and the décor matches. The tones of wood and open stoves are designed to look like the African sunset and the restaurant is complete with bird sculptures hanging from the ceiling appearing to be in-flight.
The menu changes seasonally but has a few key signature dishes that you can always find. My favorites are the Taste of Africa appetizer and the Braised Short Rib. Throughout the season they offer several flat breads, which area always amazing, and even though the short rib recipe changes somewhat, it is always good as well.
The Taste of Africa appetizer contains four different chutneys of sorts and each one pairs well with the special bread they supply with the appetizer. I personally like to put them on the “normal” bread they bring out as well. If you are familiar with Indian cuisine the chutneys should taste familiar with a spiced hummus, a roasted pepper reduction, and one that has hints of cilantro and mint. You should order at least one for every three people at the table as the appetizer will go quickly!
The short rib entrée changes in recipe but always features a very large boneless braised short rib that sits atop some type of sauce reduction. In this instance it had a creamy cheese sauce with a touch of harissa. I especially enjoyed the pearl onions and roasted root vegetables paired with it. I am amazed how they can obtain such a large boneless cut of short-rib and even more amazed at how super tender it always is. I cannot help but order it when I go and suggest you do the same.
I have never been hungry enough after the flat breads, appetizers, and entrees to order dessert but have been told it is good. If you are every near Disney World you must get reservations and try out Jiko.